LOUISVILLE, KY – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Mia Mischief returned to the site of her only other graded stakes score in tremendous fashion on Saturday, putting forth a masterful performance to win the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Breakig from post 3 at 11/1 odds under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Mia Mischief was initially forwardly placed but soon settled just off of Amy’s Challenge, who took her usual place at the front. The speedy pacesetter posted opening fractions of :22.70 and :45.02 while Mia Mischief kept close watch. Rounding the far turn, Mia Mischief made her bid and soon cleared away as she straightened for home.
Under a steady drive, Mia Mischief hit the wire with a 1 3/4-length advantage over a gaining Marley’s Freedom in a final time of 1:21.78 for the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“She responded really well today,” said Santana, Jr. “I sat off of the speed and just waited.”
The 4/5 favorite, Marley’s Freedom rallied from near the rear in the stretch but ran out of real estate and had to settle for second.
“It’s not her favorite track,” said jockey Mike Smith of Marley’s Freedom, who also finished fourth as the favorite here in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. “She doesn’t get ahold of it very well. Maybe we were just wishful thinking today. Same track. Same mare. She ran well, but that’s just because she’s classy. She doesn’t like it, though.”
Amy’s Challenge faltered in the stretch and took third by 1 length over Spiced Perfection. Behind them came Emboldened, Spring in the Wind, and Talk Veuve to Me to complete the order of finish.
Mia Mischief’s win was her second in 2019 following an allowance score at Oaklawn Park in March and was her first in a graded event since winning last year’s Eight Belles Stakes (G2). The 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief improved her record to 14-6-6-0 with $883,420 earned for co-owners William and Corrine Heiligbrodt, Heider Family Stables, and Madaket Stables.
“Grade 1s are tough, but the mare is that quality mare,” said William Heiligbrodt. “She’s my kind of horse. Go fast and get to the front.”
Mia Mischief returned $25 to win, $7 to place, and $4.20 to show. Marley’s Freedom brought back $3 to place and $2.60 to show, while Amy’s Challenge paid $3.40 to show.